2020 New Jersey Legislative Priorities

Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. In 2020, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the New Jersey Legislature in support of the following priorities:

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco 

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, leads to disease and disability, and harms nearly every organ of the body. Over 13% of adults in New Jersey smoke. Approximately 10% of high school students use e-cigarettes. More than half (54%) of youth ages 12-17 who smoke use menthol cigarettes. That's higher than any other age group. Nearly 12,000 deaths each year in the state occur as a result of smoking. There are 143,000 kids now under 18 and alive in New Jersey who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes.


  • Restrict the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products:  ACS CAN will continue to advocate for ALL flavored tobacco products to be banned in New Jersey. We have made progress by the restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, however, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars remain on the market creating a health disparity in the state that needs to be addressed.

Improving Access to Treatment and Care

Access to healthcare is a significant determinant in whether an individual diagnosed with cancer will survive. Uninsured individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage and more likely to die from the disease. ACS CAN believes everyone should have access to affordable, quality health insurance.


  • Step Therapy: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to regulate the use of insurer step therapy or fail first policies to ensure that they are used appropriately. Step therapy policies are used by health insurers to require a patient to try and fail on other drug options before coverage is granted for the medication initially prescribed by the patient’s health care provider. 


Healthy Eating and Active Living

For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the greatest behavioral risk factors for cancer are diet, levels of physical activity, weight and the amount of alcohol consumption. While New Jersey has done a great deal of work in this space in past years, there is still more work that needs to be done. In fact, excess weight increases the risk for 13 cancers. In New Jersey, one in four (25.6%) adults and 10% of children ages 10-17 are obese.


  • Healthy Default Beverages for Kid’s Meals:  ACS CAN will work to ensure that restaurant meals marketed to New Jersey kids meet minimum nutrition standards including ensuring that a healthy beverage (water, 100% juice or milk) is the default beverage offered as part of kid’s meals and kid’s menus.